Carnotaurus (CollectA Deluxe)

4.5 (30 votes)

Review and photos by Bokisaurus

Hello dinofans, and welcome to another review! I hope that everyone is doing well and enjoying spring. Today we will review one of 2019’s new figure from CollectA. Enjoy.

Since making its film debut in Disney’s animated movie Dinosaur way back in 2001, Carnotaurus’s popularity have soared, in fact so much so that it is now among the most famous  dinosaur of all times. Of course appearing in the  short lived TV show Terra Nova, and most recently in JWFK film reinforced that even further.

To date, there is only one skeleton of Carnotaurus found so far. However, this skeleton is almost complete and so well preserved that even a  huge sampling of skin impressions were found. This makes Carnotaurus one of the most well documented theropod.

In 1984 famed Argentinian paleontologist Jose Bonaparte was leading an expedition named “ Jurassic and Cretaceous Terrestrial Vertebrates of South America” in the badlands of Argentina’s Chubut Province. This expedition is significant since it would produce two of South America’s most unique and unusual dinosaurs: the majestic Amargasaurus and Carnotaurus.

Two of South America’s most famous dinosaurs

These two species are sometimes intertwined, often being depicted together in eternal battle. As dramatic as a battle scene between these two may have been, this is purely fictional, and there is no way that the two would have met in life.
Although discovered on the same expedition and from the Cretaceous, Amargasaurus was found in a much earlier layer than the younger Carnotaurus. Despite this, paleo art and even some museum display often show these two together.

As dinosaur size goes, Carnotaurus is not one of the largest, in fact it is considered a medium sized. Reaching  around 24-29 feet in length and weighing in at around 1.35 tons. So it is lightweight when compared to some of the true giants like the other South American theropods such as Giganotosaurus and Mapusaurus.

Some figures from my collection. Sorry, no Schleich, I just can’t!

Carnotaurus is one species that is almost represented in all of the major toy figure brands. Despite its popularity and odd appearance, it is not as ubiquitous as the other famous dinosaur such as T rex, Spinosaurus, Triceratops and so on. I believe the first figures of the species was introduced back in 1997 by both Safari’s Carnegie line and Battat. The Carnegie version is not so well done, leaving so much to be desired. Fortunately, the other figure, the Battat version comes close to what Carnotaurus looks like and has set the standards, not just in sculpting, but also popularized the red coloration, something we see in the Disney animated movie Dinosaur. Since then, several figures have been released, to varying level of success.

The original Carnotaurus figures from 1997 by Battat (red) and Safari Carnegie

This year, two beautiful Carnotaurus figures were released, one by Safari and the other by CollectA. Today’s review we will take a closer look at CollectA’s version.

Going head-to-head: with the other 2019 Carnotaurus from Safari. They are almost the same size, with Safari being more muscular, bulky, and has larger feet.

When it came to Carnotaurus ( meaning meat-eating bull), CollectA held off producing one for a very long time. Instead, they opted to do others species from the Abelisauridae family instead such as Rajasaurus, Majungasuaurus, and Rugops. In a way this was good since we got some obscure species, but most importantly, when it came time to make the most famous Abelisaurid, the sculpting and design from CollectA figures had vastly improved since then.

With CollectA’s other Abelisaurids, a very well represented family in the CollectA line

Carnotaurus was one of the most requested species by CollectA fans. And this year, they finally answered their prayers by giving us a deluxe Carnotaurus figure.

It was well worth the wait, the figure is simply beautiful. Officially released as a 1:40 scale deluxe model, the figure is much too big for that scale. In reality, it is closer to 1:35 scale like so many of their deluxe figures are. CollectA really should drop the 1:40 scale from the name and just call these figures deluxe.

With some of his fellow deluxe figure from the last two years. They are all pretty much not 1:40 scale, but all are about the same size.

Measuring in at slightly over 11” inches long and 4” inches tall (almost 5” inches when measured with the base), it’s a good size figure that is very close to the other deluxe figures in size.
So let’s start with the head and move down the body.

The head is beautifully sculpted and there is no mistaking who it belongs to. Unique among theropods, Carnotaurus had a pair of horns on top of its head, just above the eyes.

On the figure, these prominent pair of horns are nicely proportioned and very well sculpted with even delicate texturing, and the base of the horns have little bumps. The horns are painted two tone, lighter grayish on the bottom that gradually transition to a darker gray as it reaches the tips, a realistic choice.

The skull of Carnotaurus is shorter and much deeper than in any other large carnivorous dinosaur, this give it a boxier look.The snout was moderately broad and the jaws were curved upwards.

All of these features are captured very well in this figure’s head. The teeth are slender as they should be and nicely and cleanly painted. You can see the tongue inside the mouth. Unlike the majority of CollectA’s deluxe theropods, this figure does not have an articulated jaw, so it is fixed in with an open mouth pose.

If you look closely, you can see incredible and delicate small skin and scale details on the head. Often, we see figures with uniformed scales all over the body no matter what part, so it is nice to see some variety in size on this figure’s head.
The ear opening as well as the nostrils are clearly visible. The proportionally small eyes are painted black.

When the fossil of Carnotaurus was unearthed, there were some skin impressions found along with it. Unfortunately, it was not obvious at first what they were and as a result, many were destroyed including those that were originally found on the head, during the initial preparation.

But as soon as it was realized, the paleontologist went back to search for more skin impressions and came back with more than they have hoped for. This discovery was the first time any skin impressions on theropods were found. So well preservation was the fossil  that skin impressions from many parts of the body were recovered, and  give a clear picture of what Carnotaurus skin looks like.

The skin were a mosaic of small polygonal and non-overlapping scales that were less than half an inch in size. In addition, there were larger knob-like bumps ( scutes?) running along the side of the neck, back, and tail in irregular rows These bumps measure 1.5 -2 inches in size and have tubercles on the base that protrudes slightly from the skin.
Despite this rich sampling of skin impressions, there are no signs of any feathering of any kind found anywhere.

It is often that when scales are sculpted on a toy figure, they tend to be too large, out of scale with the figure, or overly exaggerated. 
This figure however is pretty faithful to the fossil evidence on how the scales and bumps are sculpted. The scales are very delicate and small as it should be, and is to scale with the size of the figure. From afar,  small scales is not too visible on a large animal, and it is true as well with this figure; viewed from a couple of feet away, you can barely see the scales.

A very slender figure

The bumps are also very well sculpted right down to the tubercles. Again, we often see Carnotaurus figures with these bumps that are too large, uniformed in size, and does not show a hint of the tubercles on the base. For a species with good fossil skin impression, there is a lot of information and I’m happy to see CollectA put a lot of research to how they sculpted the scales and bumps in this figure. 

The larger bumps are well done, even the delicate tubercles on the base.

The size of the bumps are to-scale with the figure, and there are mixtures of slightly smaller and larger ones as well. The tubercles are also delicately sculpted on each of these bumps. This is the most realistic and natural looking skin texturing on any Carnotaurus toy figure out there.

In addition to the scale and bumps texturing, there are also rich skin folds all over the body, from the neck, thigh, side, down to the tail. These folds looks really natural and believable . The only thing that is a little out of scale are the dorsal spines. They look a bit too big, although they come is various sizes with the smaller ones starting from the back of the neck, growing taller as it reaches the back, then smaller again as it goes down the tail. For me this is a minor nit-pick. I like it overall and it gives a distinctive look to the figure.

Often compared to a cheetah

Often compared to a cheetah, Carnotaurus was a fast animal, the fastest among the large theropods. It has a large tail muscle attached to the legs to help with speed and its long legs for sprinting. 

This figure also capture these features. The tail base is muscular as it should and you can see some bulging muscles around the base as well. The tail is held straight out with just a slight curve at the tips. Although fast, the same features that allowed Carnotaurus great speed, also restrict its ability to change course quickly. In short, it can run fast straight on, but not able to do quick turns as it runs.

The legs are nicely proportioned and beautifully sculpted. When I first saw the promo pictures, the legs looked like it would be too thin, but as it turned out, part of the leg were colored the same as the underside which changed the outline of the whole leg. They corrected this in the final version by limiting the lighter color of the underside to just on the inner thigh and not going partly all the way to the front. This was a smart move since it really
gave a good color contrast and really show the shape and proportion of the whole upper part of the legs.

Great muscle definition on this figure.

You can see very well defined muscles with plenty of skin details as well as scales. It’s muscular but not overly done as if the animal is on steroids. It’s really interesting to see how what seems like small details such as skin fold and stomach shape, really help a figure comes alive.
In this figure, it all comes together and you can fell motion on this, you can almost see how each muscles move.
And the feet are proportioned nicely due to it being on a base and have lots of details. One of the foot is slightly raised and you can see the underside. I was amazed and impressed that there are very delicate skin details on the pads of the toes as well! The nails are painted gray.

Besides the unique pair of horns, perhaps the other truly unmistakable feature of Carnotaurus is its small, almost vestigial arms. It’s basically a useless appendage , it makes Tyrannosaurus’s arms look long.

Oh what tiny arms you have!

The small arm and its four digits are sculpted slightly different, with the right more outward, while the left is kept closer to the figures chest. Although the fingers don’t have  claws sculpted on them, the tips are painted a shade of gray.

Finally, we come to the colors. This figure was given a very simple and yet effective colors. The overall body color is rust brown, with a darker shade on the back, and a lighter more reddish tone on the middle part of the body. There are lighter shades that highlights muscle definitions.

In the promo photos, the belly and facial stripes were white, but in the final product, they change it to a more subdued cream colors that I think worked better. This color runs along the underside of the figure, from the throat to the tip of the tails. The facial markings, four stripes on each side, is slightly on the whiter shade than the belly. And no, I don’t call these facial markings as “ war paint” ( I hate that terms!), I prefer to call them tribal designs. Overall, the painting and color choices are very natural looking and is very well executed.

Simple yet effective color choices and combination.

Last but not the least is the base it comes with. Bases on toy figures is a merry go round debate, but ultimately comes down to ones own personal preference.

I happen to prefer bases on all of my bipeds rather than having a tripod or exaggerated big feet to stabilize the figure. I keep my figures on shelf if they are out on display, and I don’t like unstable figures that keeps on toppling over ever time there is a slight bump on the shelf. Bases also allow for a more dynamic and natural pose. You don’t get those exaggerated pose where the figure looks like it’s wearing bigfoot shoes while trying to do the spilts.

CollectA went back to a thicker and more detailed base after some backlash over the simple and thin base used in previous years. New on the right, old on the left.

Anyway, back to the base. After suffering some backlash over those smooth and thin bases we saw a couple of years ago, CollectA improved the bases, making them thicker and adding some details and texturing to them.
In this figure, you can see some fallen leaves and twigs on the ground. The base looks like dried up soil with some pebbles scattered around. Unfortunatley, despite these details, the base is one solid tan color. It would be nice if they could have painted those fallen leaves a different colors to stand out. But I understand that doing so would add another cost to the figure. I painted some of these details on mine to bring them out as you can see on the photo below. Easy enough to do without having a lot of experience.

A very simple and easy paint job brings out the small details on the base. A quick dark brown wash subdued the base a bit.

In closing, I really love this figure. I’m glad that CollectA waited until now to release one. The sculptor, Mathias Geiger, has a very distinctive delicate looking sculpting style that worked really well on this figure.
For years, the Carnegie Carnotaurus was my favorite figure of the species despite hating the tripod pose, I simply love the striking coloration on that figure. But this figure now dethroned it, making it my favorite Carnotaurus to date.

The majestic Carnegie version has been dethroned in my collection. I still love its striking colors and design. They make a good pair and are about the same size, a male and female?

The well executed skin, scales, and bumps is something that really sets it apart form the other figures out there.
Although simple, the pose does not look contrived, but natural and pleasing to look at. It is relaxed and yet has so much fluid motion to it.

I highly recommend this figure and display nicely with other theropods.  Well that concludes todays review. I hope that you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading.

Until we meet again on the next review, take care and Cheers!

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Comments 8

  • It is the best Carnotaurus figure!!! (Second best is Carnegie’s). A strong candidate to win the figure of the year award 2019!.

    Thank you for this magnificent review!!!

  • Definitely now my favourite version of Carnotaurus. It does a marvellous job of looking both graceful and powerful at the same time.

  • better than the safari version in my opinion. Can’t wait to pick one up.

  • I dig Safari’s new version, and I still love the Carnegie 2011 one as well. Heck, even the Papo Carno is one of my personal favorites. But THIS, THIS is just something else.

  • Thanks for your comprehensive review. Ive been very curious about this figure. I believe CollectA has soared in the last two years and provided some of the best figures available. This being no exception. Can’t wait to get mine.

  • Magnificent and detailed review Bokisaurus What a detailed carnotaurus figure! A masterpiece, I celebrate that it has a fixed base (I am a supporter of theropod dinosaurs with a fixed base) and that it does not have articulated jaws (it is a personal opinion), and above all the base has been placed with beautiful leaf details. A great figure worthy of any collector although I do have in my case my preference in terms of the carnotaurus preferred, without saying that it deserves the five stars this great Carnotaurus of Collecta of 2019.

  • Great review! This is definitely my favourite Carnotaurus figure now!

  • An accomplished review and excellent photos. My model is in the post and I am sure I won’t be disappointed. I was very excited to see the painted base – until I realised you had done the colouring yourself! Perhaps I shall be brave and do the same.

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